Baltic Sea Region Territorial Monitoring System

Territorial Cohesion - Policy context

Cross cutting approach brings together thematic and geographical scope. An example of cross-cutting issues are key developmental objectives or paradigms such as sustainable development, territorial cohesion, socio-economic and territorial integration. In this case territorial measurement should bring together right regional typologies and proper socio-economic and ecological phenomena. To achieve that, the socio-economic and ecological data should be collected in a way that allows for different types of their combination in order to fit into requirement of measurement of cross-cutting issues (e.g. separate measurement of demographic variables, knowledge-based variables, ecological variables at different geographical scales and flexible combining them into more complex indicators in line with the nature of cross-cutting issues in line with a policy demand). But if properly measured an important feedback can be provided both for policies (see thematic scope) and comprehensive territorial programmes (see geographical scope) with regard to their contribution to key overall developmental societal aims and goals.
TeMo has tested measurement of territorial cohesion. A BSR specific definition of this category (based on eight strands – Cf. general description) have been elaborated and agreed with the BSR policy makers. Then indicators were formed to measure each strand (e.g. BSR divides, inclusive growth etc.). The system is flexible enough to respond to the changes of understanding of territorial cohesion in a future (due to e.g. diminishing importance of some divides or some aspects of such cohesion). However, permanently collected data at low level of resolution will still allow to make even retrospective policy analysis when the content of a given cross-cutting issue changes in the future. 
TeMo territorial measurement of cross-cutting issues is instrumental in guiding discussion on key policy options, changes in policy goals and objectives and preparation of policy scenarios. This concerns different type of BSR wide policies but first of all spatial planning and development (VASAB) as well as other policies with evident territorial component such as transport policy, environment policy, rural development policy and climate change.

A limited number of BSR-relevant generic macro level goals in core EU wide policies were selected, notably the EU 2020 strategy including the EU strategy for the BSR as well as the Territorial Agenda for the European Union. Focus lies on such topics that have been identified as sharing common ground with current VASAB policy development.  Eventually a synthesize of overall territorial cohesion trends and patterns in the BSR in the light of our introduction of ten specific macro level indicators for measuring territorial cohesion in the BSR was attempted.

Finally the three traditional BSR divides have been addressed in light of the findings thus far by evaluating current patterns and trends specifically from the point of view of territorial cohesion across these divides.

It appears evident from the analysis that various targeted policies have a great need for further territorialisation, i.e. an adjustment to characteristics of different types of territories in order to harness the untapped potential identified in the analysis. In parallel, there also looks as if there is a growing importance of national and intraregional policies to address new types of divides within such a context. Crises do in some cases brake a trend and in other cases reinforce unwanted such. Accordingly, the issue of territorial resilience has gained importance as a policy objective. As such, the key issue is to identify territorial factors contributing to such resilience. Crises do also generally jeopardise some of the long term spatial goals such as polycentricity and balanced development. There appears a need for a national level of arbitration between long term and short term goals, or at the minimum, recognition of these challenges.